any elementary classroom and you will find at least
one child (usually more) who spends his or her day with
a personal behavior clipboard. The clipboard is sitting
atop the child's desk and at either predictable or random
intervals, an adult in the room makes a notation on
the attached daily behavior chart.
these daily charts are sent home to parents as a system
to communicate the child's behavior that day. Sometimes
the charts are used for students to earn treats or treasures
at the end of the school day, doled out by a teacher.
certainly they seem a convenient way to manage individual
behavior schedules, they are weighted with problems.
The clipboard takes up space on the desk; there's no
place to set it during morning circle time; someone
has to keep up with it during outside recess; the pencil
gets lost; it's forgotten in the library, the art room,
more important than the logistical hassles is the stigma
created by tagging a particular child as having behavior
problems - for their entire world to see.
When the rest of the class is walking to music class,
hands free, these children are reminded to gather their
clipboards and carry them with them down the hall. We
might as well put a "Dunce cap" on their heads.
done correctly, behavior management programs can be
amazing. They help students learn to make behavioral
changes to improve their success in school and in social
interactions. But implementation of these programs needs
to be unobtrusive to both student and teacher and as
non-stigmatizing as possible. Here are suggestions as
to how to do just that.
Behavior logs should be out of proximity to the individual
child. Mount them on wall hooks, stack them on a corner
shelf, file them in a hanging file box - anywhere neutral
works. Children should not be asked to carry these around
the school building.
Use easy-to-transport indicators for teachers in other
rooms (art, music, library, etc.) These could be colored
index cards (green for "met goal", yellow for "struggled
with goal") or colored post-it tab notes, or school
Have specific, objective, target goals and set times
for behaviors. "Being good" and "paying attention" are
vague and subjective. "Not touching another classmate
while working" or "not talking during reading time"
are much more objective.
Call the charts "Self-Improvement plans" and offer them
to all children in the room. Give examples of things
they may want to work on. This makes them appear optional
and a personal choice and helps remove the stigma.
at improving one's behavior are a positive thing. Help
students see it as such. Make an effort to remove the
stigma from traditional behavior charts, be specific
and objective in the target behavior, and view them
as short-term projects. Then celebrate with them, their